While studying for my MA in London in 1998, I married an American and moved to Washington, DC. I didn't know much about America, nor did I have any friends. Every day, I was confronted by the big differences between Japanese and American culture and traditions. There were so many things I didn't know.
I thought dealing with visa, immigration, medical insuarance, a driver's license, schools and hospitals was hard enough. But what truly difficult was understanding this country to be integrated in to the American society while being myself. I noticed that there were many practical guides to newcomers for what to do with visa and other techinical matters. However, there were no resources to help with the difficult cultural and social issues. Resources which reflected an Asian perspective was nonexistent. I felt 'Lost in Translatin' somewhere well beyond any language barrier. It was intimidating and sad.
But, I was in the so called 'land of hope and opportunity'. The formidable social and cultural challenges forced me to gathered the courage and focused on my dream and open an Asian contemporary art gallery. Through my work, through raising a child, through being marridge, I was fortunate to gain many friends and received support from artists and art afictionados. With friendship and supoprt, my gallery, Shigeko Bork mu project, grew. And, these were the people who helped me to understand America and guided me through the mystery of American culture, language, manner, tradition and current issues. Without their friendship and my family, I couldn't have built a happy and successful life here.
This experience convinced me that it would be wonderful if there was a space where people who are new to America could share questions and thoughts on how to make our American lives happier and the path getting there more fun. That's the reason I decided to start askshigeko.com.
To make askshigeko.com easy to use and focused, the site is organized into five different areas:
In American Life Q&A, we will talk about the many questions and issues we face in living in America.
In English Jargon, I will share some helpful information to communicate more effectively in English for English as a second language speaker.
In Today's America, I will select the #1 news story of the day. To be more informed about the US will make interaction with Americans easier.
In Go Asia Go, I would like to introduce and interview a variety of interesting Asians working in the US and Americans who have strong ties to Asia.
In Life in Washington DC, I will report on the latest from Washington DC and talk about America from my personal point of view.
I truly hope you will visit askshigeko.com whenever you would like to share something special or whenever you want to talk to a friend. askshigeko.com is here for you. Hope to see you!